There was a bit of an uproar when it announced that Cisgendered Matt Bomer was cast to play a trans woman (who was also a sex worker… and a drug addict…GROAN) in the upcoming movie Anything. Trans advocates argued that such casting deprives trans actors of roles they’re overwhelmingly qualified for while perpetuating stereotypes about the community. Jen Richards, the trans actress and creator of the Emmy-nominated web series HerStory, tweeted her disapproval, noting that casting Cis actors was actually problematic for the trans community.
Mya Byrne, a trans musician and poet, writes on HuffPo:
“There are many qualified trans actors and writers who could have played in and advised on the construction of the scenes you’re about to edit into a motion picture. They will lose more work because of this. We know you have good intentions. But those intentions have far-reaching after-effects that you, as cis men, don’t experience.”
Executive producer Mark Ruffalo addressed the backlash, tweeting “To the Trans community. I hear you,” Ruffalo said. “It’s wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It’s time.” Then going on to say: “In all honesty I suggested Matt for the role after the profound experience I had with him while making The Normal Heart.” (In which Matt WAS excellent, no doubt about it).
Of course: Whether “hearing” the issues actually, you know, SOLVES them, is a matter left to be seen. But yes, yes, start that dialogue Mark…